'Running around an airport with two knives? What does it take to go to jail?'

25 September 2020, 07:56 | Updated: 25 September 2020, 08:01

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

"Running around an airport with two knives, what does it take to go to jail?" an incredulous Nick Ferrari asked.

"The most extraordinary story," was how LBC's Nick Ferrari started to explain the story of a man who sparked panic at Gatwick Airport when he walked through a terminal brandishing two large knives has been given a suspended sentence.

Nick said the man told his neighbours he was "planning a massacre" and going to the airport to "kill them all."

Russell arrived at Gatwick Airport with two knives which led to security staff calling the police who ended up Tasering him.

When it came before the courts the judge handed him a 15-month suspended sentence along with requirements for treatment and rehabilitation.

Nick spoke to Rebecca Filletti a criminal defence barrister.

When the LBC presenter asked the barrister if she was surprised by the sentence, Ms Filletti said she was not.

Adam Russell, 32, from Crawley, had relapsed from schizophrenia on 3 June 2019, Lewes Crown Court heard.

Defence barrister Fiona Clegg told the court: "In the preceding weeks to the incident his mental health was deteriorating significantly."

She said Russell wished her to indicate he could now see "just how alarming this must have been".

She said he was "profusely sorry" and engaging with mental health services.

Explaining the details behind the sentencing the legal expert told LBC why the judge came to the sentencing decision.

"It isn't a get out of jail free card," she said.

Nick quipped it was "certainly a don't go to jail card."

When the case came to court prosecutor Rachel Beckett said a security officer had been so scared when she saw him "she thought this is it, this is a terrorist attack".

The court heard that a week before the incident, Russell told ambulance staff voices in his head were telling him to blow up the airport.

Speaking to LBC Ms Filletti set out why the sentence he Russel was handed was like a "sword of Damocles hanging over his head."

This led to Nick questioning what it takes for someone to receive a prison sentence.

"Running around an airport with two knives," Nick asked, "what does it take to go to jail."

Watch the whole video at the top of the page to find out what the barrister's answer was.

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